Archive | plumbing RSS feed for this section

Toilet Tragedies and Other Holiday Fun

January 9, 2013


I had always relegated it to urban legend, those tales of Christmas-Day plumbing emergencies… but to my shock and surprise, those things REALLY do happen. And who else would it happen to but ME!!!

We were getting ready for bed late one night when my son ran breathlessly into the room. “The toilet is not flushing and there is water squirting all over the floor.”

{insert screaming, crying emoticon here}

We are a family of six people and our old house has two toilets. The one downstairs doesn’t work so well so the one upstairs is the mainstay. This toilet was installed way back in 1962, however, so you can imagine the amount of water it ate with every flush. And worse, the drains are so poor here that we would have to hold the flushing handle down until all the water was sucked down the bowl. I estimate that the sucker wasted 10 to 15 gallons of water with every flush. Yes, our water bill is atrocious. So I couldn’t say I was sad to see the old porcelain hag go. But at 11:30 at night on a holiday weekend?!?!?! Noooooooo!

Providentially, I had an extra toilet on hand. It was actually a miracle. In late October, Delta Faucet asked me if I wanted to try out their latest toilet, with SmartFit™ and WaterSense® technology! Sure, I said, imagining that I had months to install it….. my my my, such are the plans of mice and men…

We trudged upstairs to check out the damage. I knew the old toilet leaked a bit — the floor is spongy and it squeaks. After a quick caucus, we figured the wax seal beneath the toilet was shot, and since we have to remove the old thing, why not install the new Delta toilet now? The box said it had an EZ Out™ Toilet Removal Kit, so maybe something will actually be easy for us this time?

We rolled up our sleeves and set to work. The hardest part was removing the old toilet. Those screws were welded on by time and eternal moisture problems. Good riddance.


The EZ Out™ Toilet Removal Kit is really neat! It has a stiff block that is actually a compressed sponge. You plunk it into the old toilet bowl to remove all traces of water. The kit also has gloves (YAY for that!) a plastic scraper the remove the old wax ring, and a plastic bag to throw the wax ring away. My son actually got excited (it was his first toilet project) and wanted to scrape the wax ring himself. Son, BE MY GUEST!


Yeah, he looks tired. It was only 2 in the morning… 😐


We unboxed the new Delta toilet and I got my first look at it. Delta had sent me their luxurious Corrente series toilet and it’s beautiful! It’s narrow, so it fits better in the small space. It’s also elongated and taller than average!!! I can’t tell you how important this is. I sometimes get a stiff back in the mornings, and it’s not fun to have to .. well, you know. Those low-to-the-ground toilets are fine for 6-year olds but let’s face it we haven’t had a 6-year old here in a decade. Time for the toilet to grow up.


Yes, the cat made sure we were doing everything just right. She often joins in on our projects, which is OK except when she gets too close to the wet paint or, in this case, the silicone adhesive… *sigh*


The tank is so tiny! It has a special contraption inside — this must be the WaterSense feature. It only uses 1.28 gallons per flush! And the flush is very powerful, so no flushing twice. It works perfectly even with our sluggish plumbing system.


Here Livvy is supervising the toilet seat installation. Delta even provides that in the package!




Now if I can only convince the cat to use the thing…

So Delta saved my skin that night. It was a true miracle that we had the toilet on hand, truly. I love Delta products. I think they are built to last. I have lived in a lot of old homes, and I’ve only ever seen Delta products stand the test of time. We are still using the old Delta faucets here, installed by the previous owners in the late 1960s. They faucets never leak and are still working perfectly. That’s proof of some good manufacturing there.

Here’s the poop on the new toilet we installed. It flushes without any problems and we love it!

  • RSL (Rigid Supply Line) model is available for use where required by State or Local Plumbing Codes.
  • Maximum flush power while saving you money, Delta 1.28gpf WaterSense labeled toilets are virtually clog-free.
  • Features the exclusive SmartFit™ tank-to-bowl connection and SmartFit™ supply line, reducing potential leak points, over-tightening of the fasteners and cracking the toilet.
  • Delta toilet kit includes the tank, bowl, toilet seat, mounting hardware, SmartFit™ supply line, wax ring and SmartFit™ Multi-Tool. No additional tools required.

Oh, and we did find out the reason for the old toilet failure — when we lifted up the old toilet, the drain was filled with a wad of those “flushable” wipes. It was my wonderful job of running a plumber’s snake down the pipe to loosen everything down there. Yeah. Don’t you believe it when those wipes manufacturers say their products are flushable — they are not!

Continue reading...

Fixing Poor Shower Water Pressure

November 7, 2011

1 Comment

Wimpy water pressure at the shower can be frustrating and baffling. At times the pressure may seem adequate but other times the pressure may barely ooze from the shower head. While you cannot adjust the water pressure to the shower directly, you can adjust the water pressure for the entire house, check for impediments in the shower water supply and install an aerator to improve shower water pressure.

Understanding Water Pressure
Water pressure is measured by “pounds per square inch,” or “psi.” For most plumbing systems, optimum pressure is 50 to 80 psi. Pressure lower than 50 will seem too weak for most people, but psi higher than 80 may cause damage to pipe joints, seals and fixtures. Pressure throughout the building waxes and wanes as the plumbing fixtures are used. For example, the shower pressure may seem fine at the moment but may dip to an anemic trickle when the washing machine fills or the toilet is flushed. This happens because other fixtures draw on the supply and water is diverted across the plumbing system. Additionally, a fixture loses one pound of water pressure for every 2.31 vertical feet in the system. A shower on the second floor would thus lose 10 or more pounds.

The Pressure Regulator
The water supply pressure regulator is located in the basement, where the underground water supply pipes enter the basement. Some regulators sport a pressure gauge that measures the psi for the entire water supply system. Adjusting the regulator is a simple task. To reduce pressure, use an adjustable wrench to loosen the locknut, usually located on the top of a small, metal bell-shaped device. Slowly turn the small screw on top of the locknut in a counter-clockwise direction. To raise water pressure, turn the screw in a clockwise direction.

Shower Water Pressure
Water pressure in the shower depends on a combination of things: distance from the main supply, the size of plumbing pipes and plumbing system additions such as a water softener or filtration tank. Generally, if the other fixtures in the building have good water pressure but the shower water pressure is consistently weak, the shower head or shower water supply pipes are clogged. Debris and mineral deposits from the water sometimes form inside the pipes, developing into clots that impede water pressure.

Adjusting Shower Water Pressure
In a case where the pressure to the shower is consistently low, the supply line to the shower should be inspected and impediments removed. The culprit is usually at the shower head. A small screen, called an aerator, may be filled with debris such as rust or small particles of sand …. Soaking the shower head in vinegar removes the mineral deposits. A water-saver shower head often exacerbates low pressure problems; replacement of this type of shower head will boost pressure immediately.

Continue reading...

How to Clear a Clogged Drain Without Chemicals

September 13, 2011

Comments Off on How to Clear a Clogged Drain Without Chemicals

Those magical drain chemicals lauded on television aren’t all they are cracked up to be. When I got my first clog here at the old homestead, I used drain cleaners. Clogs in old plumbing can be pretty intense, and the clogs were never relieved after waiting only a few minutes, as per the chemical’s instructions. Instructions notwithstanding, I did it again and waited longer. Bah. Didn’t really work.
Hanging drainpipe
I didn’t know the damage that the chemicals could do until one day the husband went to look at a pipe under the sink. When he touched the chrome “S” trap, it fell to pieces in his hands. :-O The drain chemicals had eaten through the pipe.

I never use chemicals anymore. Folks with septic systems should never use chemicals, as the chemicals will disrupt the septic tank processes and perhaps harm the environment.

I’ve had very good success with my own physical techniques. Sure, they are messy and some of them are not for folks with weak stomachs… but my plumbing is intact. And I have a very weak stomach when it comes to plumber’s bills.

Baking Soda and Vinegar
I usually use this technique for the kitchen sink downstairs. I dump a healthy serving of baking soda down the drain. I then add a cup or two of vinegar. The base of the baking soda combined with the acid of the vinegar produce a chemical reaction– bubbling and mildly explosive. I press my hand over the drain to force the chemical reaction down the drain. For mild clogs, this often works.

The Manual Method
Believe it or not, many times I can unclog a bathroom sink by fishing around inside the drain. I have an old rat-tail comb that I reserve for this purpose. Bathroom sinks are more prone to get clogged with hair, floss, and soap scum. I stick the comb into the drain and fish the debris out. Then, I flush the drain with very hot water.

The Plunger
Not just for sluggish toilets, the toilet plunger works perfectly for the bathtub drain. Run a little bit of water into the tub to create a small pool of water. Place the plunger over the drain and chug down a few times. If the plunger wheezes and air sputters out, there is not enough water in the tub to create an air-tight pressure. I fill the tub a bit more and repeat the process. I’ve been doing this for a few years and it always fixes the clogged drain.

The snake.

The Auger
Also called the “snake,” I break out the plumber augers for the big dogs. There are several different kind of augers, and you should really use a certain one for a certain job. There’s the basic snake, a mere cable of just a few feet. This is good for small bathroom sinks. Then there’s the large auger, with a hefty metal or plastic bowl-shaped housing. I use this for big jobs like waste line cleanouts or big clogs in the bathtub drain.

The manual auger.

Finally, there’s the closet auger, which looks like a stiff whip. It’s a long pole with a handle. You insert the end of the pole into the toilet bowl. The end of the pole has a plastic end to protect the porcelain from scratches from the metal cable. I once had a serious toilet clog when one of the kids accidentally flushed a washcloth down the toilet. Back then, I didn’t know what to do except call my local plumber. He showed up with the closet auger, stirred things around for about 5 minutes, and charged me $100 for the visit. While some plumbers would have charged more, it was a hefty fine for a wayward washcloth.

Here’s a great video I found on how to use a closet auger.

An Ounce of Prevention…
As always, an ounce of prevention is worth that proverbial pound of cure. Old timers claim that one sure-fire way to prevent clogs is to dump scalding hot vinegar down the drains once a month. That sounds like it would work– the vinegar and hot water would clear any residual grease and soap scum, yep. But I have half a dozen drains…. I’d have to gallivant throughout the house doing this every week?!

My own preventative measures include the following:

  • Always pick up stray hair after combing your hair.
  • Never NEVER never dump grease down the drain.
  • Never dump paint or other congealing liquids down the drains.
  • NEVER NEVER NEVER dump food or bones down the drains.
  • Be vigilant about what goes down the toilets. No paper towels, baby wipes, etc.

A monthly treatment of vinegar and baking soda helps, too.

Who knew plumbing could be SO interesting! Thanks for reading. 🙂 Hope this helps!

Continue reading...

Blast From the Past, July Heat Wave Edition

July 22, 2011

1 Comment

My son’s Biology course is finally over (the kid “A”ced it, too!!), so our summer has begun and our thoughts are turning toward wrapping up a few of the undone projects from last year’s renovation. I’m not planning any big projects this year– I tend to intersperse them every other year, for sanity’s sake! That, and I still have to pay off the kitchen renovation.

But we really can’t do much this week because of a very intense heat wave that’s hit the Northeast. I suffer in the heat, so I’m waiting until it passes before I attempt any projects. I remembered that about this time last year, we had a stretch of unusually hot weather, too. What were we doing then? I checked it out.

OH YEAH. Insulation.

Oh gosh, installing insulation in July is a nasty job. You have to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, dust masks…. and the fiberglass seems to shake loose from the batts and go right for your face. But the job is SO WORTH it come winter. The house has never been toastier. Ever.



We also installed our plumbing about this time. We used the new-fangled material, PEX. It’s a very stiff plastic material, a suitable replacement for the super-expensive copper.



Have you heard about all the copper thefts going on? There’s been quite a bit in my area. These jerks will raid an entire house, ripping out the plumbing so they can sell the copper at the scrap yards. When we went to the scrapyard to sell our old copper pipes, the scrap yard took my husband’s driver’s license information! Apparently, the cops are monitoring the flow of copper in the area.

Did you notice how the husband installed the PEX into such lovely rings? 😀 I love the PEX manifold system. When we went away for a week-long vacation out of state, turning off the water supply was a piece of cake. And when we have to turn off the water supply to a fixture, all we have to do is turn the valve at the manifold.

Going over these photos is somewhat therapeutic for me. I’m not getting any new projects completed, and I feel somewhat low about that, from time to time. It’s easy to get discouraged with so many small (but important) things to do yet. Looking over the photos helps me remember how far we’ve come. I’m really praying that next year, we tackle the upstairs level. And get new windows. After that, it’s just the exterior and yard!!! Oh, and maintenance. :-p

Continue reading...

Old Home Owner’s Malaise

June 13, 2011


Maybe this is normal. I don’t know.

I’m suffering from a severe case of the Old Home Blues. I have absolutely no energy to tackle any projects around here. Not the garden, not all the undone little projects from the kitchen renovation from last summer…. and when I encounter a “new” problem, I just want to go to bed and pretend it isn’t there. Right now, if I could sell and make a profit, I would. I would get a new house (in old-house speak, a new house is one that was built post World War II). ALL the plumbing and electric and insulation and windows would be done. Maybe even have nice carpeting and a deck and a downstairs toilet that doesn’t bubble when the upstairs is flushed… It would be the next thing to heaven. yeah.

Oh, I’m down in the dumps about another plumbing problem. Honestly, I kinda thought we were over the plumbing problems, last year after we replaced everything—well, ALMOST everything, and that’s the problem right there.

The handle to the bathtub faucet broke off yesterday. I dropped a small plastic container of hand soap on it, and BOOP it snapped. Just a handle, though. Tub handles are replaceable, easy– you screw off the old and screw on the new!! EASY!!!

*violent sobbing*

The faucet handle stem is plastic. The stem is the rod inside the handle that turns the water supply on and off as you spin the handle. Every single diagram I have ever seen shows metal stems. The screw off. EVERY SINGLE ONE.

Except mine. Mine’s plastic. And they don’t screw off.  Nope, the system is all integrated. The chrome sleeve escutcheon, the valve body inside the wall. All integrated. So we can’t just screw off the old and screw on the new. We have to GUT THE BATHROOM WALL and replace ALL the copper pipes to install a new valve, stem and faucet fixtures.

tub faucet plastic stem1

You can see the plastic stem end that broke off.

tub faucet plastic stem2

The chrome sleeve will NOT budge. I think it’s welded to the valve (inside the wall). There’s no threaded flange to screw on and off. We managed to remove the plastic cartridge from the sleeve. I’ve never seen anything like it in a tub handle, but then again, I’m no plumber. I can understand the cartridge inside as plastic.. but plastic for the STEM?! The rod that sticks out upon which the entire handle spins? It’s born to fail.

tub faucet plastic stem4

tub faucet plastic stem3

I don’t think this type of tub handle set is even made anymore. We would kinda like to modernize the whole thing, but we’d have to replace the whole thing, a monumental task. This is the valve from the “access panel” behind the shower. Note that the panel covers the right side of the plumbing. There’s a wall stud there. We can’t replace the valve, anyway, unless I hack through the wall with a reciprocating saw.

tub faucet plastic stem5

Do you hear that banshee-screaming-like sound? That’s not the wind. That’s my whining, all the way from New York State.

Hey, if any of you old-timers have any advice to offer me, please do. 🙂

Update: I’ve done more research online, and it looks like the plastic cartridge is replaceable (the brand is Universal Rundle). I even found an online store that sells them!!!!! That’s encouraging. The Hubs is going to decide whether he wants to simply replace the cartridges and leave the cob job cobbed, or replace the entire valve system to something more modern. We’d have to rip out part of the wall for that…. it’s not a large portion of the wall, but I foresee some issues. I only pray that all the twisting and shaking we did yesterday to get the handles apart has not broken the seals around the copper pipes! Pray that we don’t get a leak!

Continue reading...

My Before, During, and After Story, Part 3

November 18, 2010


This is the story of how we gutted our 1855 home’s kitchen and dining room. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

I have thus far blogged about the kitchen renovation. Originally, gutting the kitchen was my only goal. In an old house, it is SO easy to get carried away with multiple projects, because there is always so much to do. As I planned the kitchen job, I realized I’d have to do the dining room, too. Part of the renovation goal was to wire the house (I’d disconnected the old, decaying wiring in the house three years previously). We’d suffered all those years without any electricity in the bedrooms upstairs, the upstairs bath, and the dining room. I decided to gut the dining room, too. This way, I could wire the upstairs rooms from the opened dining room ceiling.

Wiring 1

The house framing method is balloon-frame, a building fad in the mid 1800s. Studs sit on the foundation sill and reach all the way up to the roof rafters, like a hot air balloon seams. It quickly grew out of fashion because cutting wood at such lengths was expensive; and the drafts produced by the open cavity from basement to attic was a fire hazard. But I was able to snake wiring up the stud cavities.

Since there was no plumbing in the dining room walls, I thought renovating the room would be easy. However, the walls are 155 years old, wavy and narrow. Installing the sheetrock for this room was AGONIZING. If I ever had to hire for a job, it would be sheetrock. What exhausting, dirty, depressing work. Nothing is straight or plumb in this house, so the walls and ceiling looked terrible. Not to mention that at this time, Upstate New York suffered one of the hottest summers on record. We were absolutely soaked through. I drank about 1 to 2 gallons of iced tea every day. It was a big trial for us to work through this. So many times we wanted to quit.


Wavier than a surfer's paradise, I tell ya.

DR ceiling sheetrock

It was just my daughter and I who did the sheetrock, with later help from my son. It took us THREE GRUELING WEEKS to do this huge room. Never again...


The wavy ceiling turned out so poorly, we decided to paste embossed wallpaper on it. That was another GRUELING week of work.


I wanted to retain the Greek Revival architecture of the house, so I spent a long time building new trimwork for it. I love my miter saw!


The room was a tremendous challenge because it has four windows and SIX doorways. But here's the finished product.

Back to the kitchen project. There was a large space- a former pantry closet that was awkward and cramped– and I didn’t want to close it off completely… So we solved the problem by creating a narrow pantry shelf accessible from the side of the closet. The guys from my church got this up in one night!

Narrow Pantry


This is after the sheetrock. It's a little quirky, but I love it. I have to build custom doors for it. That open cubby hole to the left will house a closet with a roll-out garbage bin... still not completed yet.


I like quirky closets so much that I built another one, between the kitchen and dining room doorways.

The guys from the church helped me install the sheetrock in the kitchen, to save my sanity. I hope I never have to do it again. Woo hoo! It’s over and it looks spectacular!


Once the walls were closed up, we could start installing cabinets. Yay!



It took me a long time to choose countertops. I originally chose laminate (I was on a budget!), but the long run (11 feet) would mean I’d need custom laminate countertops. Time was running out for us– it was already late August– and I knew I could not build custom laminate, nor could I afford it installed. After much research, I bought butcher block wood countertops from an online wholesale dealer. It requires a little more maintenance than laminate, but it’s absolutely beautiful.


The delivery man placed it at the mouth of the driveway, and took off! We had to haul the 350 pound counters 150 feet down the driveway, to the kitchen. Fun.


It took three kids and me to make this sink cutout. I was trembling with anxiety the entire time. One bad cut, and my countertop was ruined. Praise the Lord, it came out OK!

Delta Faucet almost there

Delta gave me a faucet for this renovation. I LOVE YOU, DELTA! We love our sink. 🙂

The end is near! Stay tuned for the next section– it’s the best part of all!!

Continue reading...

Find the Kitty Friday, Late Edition 10/15

October 15, 2010


Find the Kitty Friday

Where the action is, there is Livvy.


We finally got the gas dryer installed. The Hubs installed the gas line. It’s actually not a very difficult task (yea, SHE says, haha!). The key is perfect measurements for the gas pipes. We were going to hire our plumber to do the work, actually, but changed our minds over the summer. We found out that our plumber had taken a few dangerous short cuts when he installed the gas line for us a few years ago. He’d used one of those flexible stainless steel pipes (coated with yellow plastic) to rig up to the main gas service line pipe. He then stuck it up into a hole into the laundry room, attached a flange on the end, and connected another yellow flexible gas pipe from the flange to the dryer. Plumbing codes say that for main service gas lines, you have to use solid, black pipe.

One we saw how non-complicated it is to install your own pipe, we decided to do it ourselves. It’s also saving us upwards of $1000. The hardest part is making accurate measurements. You also must test for leaks with soapy water. I also test for leaks with my very sensitive nose. 😀

So anyway, we got the dryer installed. THANK GOD. I had been carting 15+ loads of laundry every week to the local laundromat all summer. WHAT a chore. Of course, as soon as we get the dryer installed, Livvy wants to be a part of the action. I love this cat. Everything is new and exciting to her, even laundry. LOL.


Yet we still have no heaters, downstairs. We have an electric space heater for the most chilly of days, and are bundling as best as we can in blankets. The heaters require more gas lines, and The Hubs has not had any time to get them installed yet. I tried to encourage him, by patting him on the back after doing such a great job with the dryer line.

“Thank you so much! It’s works great!! Are you happy about such a job well done?”

“It’s over,” was all he said.


Continue reading...

New Kitchen: The Delta ToucH20 Faucet

September 30, 2010


Delta Faucet company graciously gave me a Delta Pilar Pull-down Faucet with ToucH20 Technology. We absolutely love this faucet! I am a Delta fan, anyway– when we moved to this house, the bathrooms had Delta faucets (old Delta faucets, because the bathrooms had been remodeled in the 1970s and 80s). They work marvelously, after all these years– not a leak and they still look great after decades of washing and use. I was pretty impressed. So when Delta asked me if I wanted to test out their new kitchen faucet, I jumped at the chance.

It also looks stunning in the new kitchen:


We installed the faucet ourselves (as we have everything here). The installation was very easy. It’s always helpful to install the faucet before placing the sink onto the countertop. But the Delta faucet is structured to be easy to install for new installations, or for old– it requires NO basin wrench! Hurray!

deltafaucet connect

Delta Faucet connections

Delta Faucet almost installed


The faucet has a few very unique features:

  • It’s got a very high and wide faucet spigot, which makes it great for filling large pots.
  • The “touch” technology is just that– you do not need to push the lever to turn on the water. All you do is touch the faucet or the lever to turn on the water. It’s great when your hands are dirty or sticky.
  • The spigot has a removable sprayer, which is very nice. The end of the spigot has a button that you can switch from stream or spray. The sprayer reattaches to the spigot with a magnet (Delta’s “MagnaTite technology”).
  • The faucet comes with a terrific soap dispenser that you can fill from the TOP of the sink! I love that. No more handsoap sitting messily on the counter.



The Touch feature is battery operated (takes “C” batteries). The electrical component in installed under the sink, in the cabinet. I have had the batteries running for three weeks now, and haven’t had to change them yet. So it’s nice to know the faucet is not a battery-consuming monster. Moreover, if you prefer not to use the touch technology, just shut it off and use the lever as you would any other sink faucet. It’s great that there’s a choice.


The Hubs said the instructions for installing the sink are superb. He didn’t have any problems understanding them at all. He does have one tip when reading the instructions: make sure you read the ENTIRE section before you begin doing anything. A section may have a “Note” at the end, which may be important. So read through the instructions entirely before beginning, and then read each section through as you install the faucet.

We installed the faucet in a matter of minutes. I was PRETTY impressed. Delta has made this faucet a real easy “do it yourself” project. Even the wiring for the touch feature was easy– you just plug in a few plastic receptacles and pop in the batteries, easy as cake. I think Delta did a great job in putting this together for the DIYer.

When we first got the faucet installed and activated the Touch technology, we wondered if the cat would activate it, or if the faucet would be overly sensitive. So far, it’s been great. Sometimes I have to really rap on the spigot to turn the faucet on, but the lever is more sensitive (so I tap the lever instead of the faucet). One time, a metal pot in the dish drainer shifted, and touched the lever. The water turned on. It was weird seeing the water turn on automatically! But Delta has an automatic shutoff for the faucet– the faucet will turn off after four minutes, in case the faucet is accidentally turned on (say, by a cat or a wayward pot!).

Delta has an entire webpage dedicated to the faucet at You will find helpful installation videos. I give HUGE kudos to Delta for creating such a nice faucet, but also DOUBLE HUGE kudos for making it so easy to install, and for providing installation videos. They really did an excellent job.

After having it installed for over two weeks, here are my thoughts:

ToucH20 Technology
Nice big, round spigot
The nice hand dispenser
Very attractive
Can use the battery-powered ToucH technology, or turn it off to use manually as you would a regular faucet
Automatic shut-off after 4 minutes
Easy to install/great instructions in ENGLISH written by people with ENGLISH as their FIRST language- yay!
Is made by Delta

Sprayer doesn’t have super-powerful water pressure; it’s more like a shower. Don’t expect to blast greasy dishes clean.
Uses batteries
Is a little costly
The stainless steel finish is “OK.” I’m not a big fan of steel. The faucet does come in a bronze finish, too.

One other note– you may become very spoiled after installing this faucet. So spoiled that if you use another faucet elsewhere in the house, or go to a friend’s house, you will be tapping the faucets and wondering why they don’t turn on. This is a great faucet and I give it a big Thumbs Up.

Continue reading...

A Terrific Weekend! The End is Near! Well, Nearer…

September 6, 2010


We are ACTUALLY talking about MOVING BACK into the kitchen this week!!! Oh my word!!!

We had a great weekend– very hectic, and I’m still sore as anything– but the room is beginning to look like a kitchen again.

Firstly, I got the flooring installed.

Vinyl Flooring

It’s TrafficMaster Allure flooring. It’s “OK.” It installed very easily (it took me a while to figure out how to do it– but once I ignored the advice of the “experts” and did it my way, it went much smoother). It took me about 10 hours to do a 12 x 23 square foot room. Yeah, I’m still sore. :-p A soak in a warm bath would help. Oooo, my knees and hands!

The bummer is that before I had even finished installing the flooring, it got a tear in the surface!! I was pretty upset. We have a small refrigerator (one of those tiny things) and it has caster feet, but there must be a sharp piece of metal poking down somewhere. Because when I pushed the fridge a little, it snagged on the floor. 🙁 Now I have to fix the plank. But it is fixable, thank God. I’ll have more on our adventure with that, as well as a review of TrafficMaster Allure, in the near future.

We also got half the sink installation completed!!! Hurray!!!!


We’ve been without a kitchen sink for over a week. It is no fun doing dishes in the bathtub. NO FUN. My poor kids. But today, we hope to finish the sink installation, and maybe even get a dishwasher rigged up!!!! *happy dance*

The faucet we have is the Delta Touch20 Technology faucet. The kids LOVE it. You touch it to turn it on. The faucet technology is brilliantly designed.

Delta Faucet almost installed

Delta gave me this faucet, to show you all how it is installed and how it works. I’ll have a more thorough review of the faucet in an upcoming post. Right now I’m so excited that I couldn’t keep myself from mentioning it! We’re almost there!

Delta Faucet almost there

In other great news, our lighting electrical problem is solved. If you recall, two weeks ago, we accidentally broke through a wire while laying the flooring underlayment (the subfloor is more narrow in that section of the kitchen, and the screw *just happened* to go through the wire at that EXACT spot! Grr). That caused a short circuit, and the lights went out. But we fixed it that evening, or so we thought. It worked briefly, then went out again. ??? I was fretting that we would have to tear out our freshly-installed walls to re-wire the circuit again….. *shudder* … but yesterday, we found the problem— when we repaired the wire last week, we drove in the clamp too tightly, and broke through THAT wire. :S It must have been because we were so tired and in a hurry (it was late when we tried to fix it). So everything is fixed and working again. But I admit that I do now have a phobia about drilling into the walls and floors! :S

So the end is nearing. This week, we hope to get the stove, sink, dishwasher, and fridge in the kitchen and running. Next week, I have to work on all the trimwork (and there is a TON of it, especially in the dining room), and install the flooring in there.

To Do:

Laundry Alcove
Finish trim work in laundry alcove
Install shelves in laundry alcove
Install clothes dryer vent
Install gas line to dryer
Install washing machine

Install remaining four cabinets
Install toe kicks for cabinets
Install baseboard moulding
Touch up walls with paint
Install window pediment trim to both windows
Apply polyurethane to window trim
Paint other window
Apply Waterlox sealer to butcher block countertops
Install countertop for beverage area alcove, and treat with Waterlox
Install stove range
Install Delta Touch20 sink
Install dishwasher
Read instructions to learn how to use dishwasher
Clean out large refrigerator, and bring back into kitchen
Clean out small refrigerator, and plug in
Install telephone wiring in kitchen
Install network control panel/ethernet cabling in kitchen
Build large cabinet area under the stairs
Finish the pantry closet under stairs (paint, install shelves)
Install trim around cabinet area and pantry under stairs
Install gas space heater and gas line to heater

Dining Room
Install trim around four windows and six doorways (gulp)
Install crown moulding
Install baseboard moulding
Install shelves in coat closet
Install trim work around broom closet
Install flooring in Dining Room and coat closet
Install gas space heater and gas line to heater

The Rest of the House
Move furniture out of Living Room and back into Dining Room (china cabinet, bookshelves, sideboard)
Move bookshelves out of kids’ bedrooms and back into Living Room (including boxes of books)
Install gas space heater in Living Room, and gas line to heater
CLEAN EVERYTHING!!! Windows, walls, floors, furniture, curtains, linens, carpets…
Move my desk back into position and thoroughly clean and organize the disastrous mess of papers and junk all over the place….

Continue reading...

Coping With Low Water Pressure

August 28, 2010

Comments Off on Coping With Low Water Pressure

Our home is rigged up to the municipal water supply, so we are really blessed to have adequate water pressure from the inlet. However, we never realy had sufficient pressure inside the house! Not sure why… after opening the walls and inspecting the old copper plumbing, we found a whole lot of pipes going every which way… but it didn’t seem problematic, not enough to affect the pressure, anyway.

After installing PEX, we have seen an improvement in pressure, but not as much as I had hoped. I think part of the problem may lie with the fixtures. Shower heads and old faucets become clogged with mineral deposits and crud, over time. My water here is a little hard– I know this because my coffee pots become caked with calcium deposits rather frequently.


Our PEX manifold installation.

So eventually, we should change the faucets… in the past, I have purchased the Wally World cheapos, but I don’t think I will anymore. They do not last very long. I may as well get a faucet slightly more expensive in one purchase that lasts longer, than have to buy several cheapo ones over the same course of time! I spotted a shower head called the “Fire Hydrant Presidential” online. LOL, that’s a pretty descriptive name; it looks like a fire hose faucet, too!

Old homes are sometimes plagued with water pressure problems. I think the best thing to do before ripping out the old plumbing or calling in the expensive service guys is to instead soak all your faucets/fixtures in vinegar, or get new ones. That just may solve the problem. 😀

Continue reading...